Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 4 Episodes 7 and 8

Episode 7: Footsteps

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Plot: A man on a shopping outing with his wife visits the restroom for a minute when he hears non-stop footsteps outside of the stall.

Breakdown: I can’t really decide if this episode was good or bad. On one hand, the footsteps were unnerving as they increased in intensity, and the final shot was kinda spooky. Plus the narrator for this episode is a fantastic story teller with his voice. On the other hand, this is another Yami Shibai episode that takes place in a toilet….Also, they kinda stretch for the spooky atmosphere here by making the stall very dark when it logically shouldn’t be. A bathroom in a crowded mall being mostly dark? Why?

It also has a confusing ‘story’. I guess the marks on the wall were sigils to ward off whatever was making the footstep noises, but why write them in such easily removable ink? Why is whatever is haunting this bathroom haunting this bathroom?

Middle of the road material, I suppose.

The live-action shots of the episode were just shots of him holding his phone, which has already been done and doesn’t add to the atmosphere or story at all.

Episode 8 – Cassette Tape

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Plot: A young man is returning to his old childhood home for the wedding of one of his childhood friends. As he rustles through the stuff preserved perfectly in his old bedroom, he finds a tape titled ‘What happened today?’, which turns out to be an old audio journal he kept as a child. As he listens with nostalgia, he realizes that something is odd about what he’s saying and how he’s speaking. He soon has no recollection of the odd things he seems to be noting as the tape continues. So….what happened today?

Breakdown: Now we’re getting back into the good ol’ funk of the original Yami Shibai….but ultimately ending a bit flat.

This is just some nice psychological screwing that unnerves you from nearly the instant the tape starts. Also, the shot of the tape playing is the live-action shot for the episode, giving it a tad more creepiness.

The ending, while being ominous, is also very open-ended, which is why it’s somewhat flat. There’s some weird box that he keeps bringing up, but we never see the box or have any indication what’s inside it.

All in all, one of the stronger entries in this season. Just needed a firmer landing.

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Animating Halloween: Yami Shibai 4 Episodes 3 and 4

Episode 3: Sewing Shears

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Plot: A woman moves into a cheap new apartment and finds a talisman with sewing shears stabbed through them underneath the floor boards. She discards them, but everything has a purpose.

Breakdown: This one was completely cliché from start to finish. Find a creepy artifact in an old house and throw it away. Gee I wonder if that won’t piss off some spirit and get her killed.

They even throw in the fakeout dream for good measure. It’s here where the live action shots really start seeming silly. The shot of the talisman and shears were enough, but when she picks them up, it’s on the side of comically juxtaposed besides the regular art and animation, which does seem much less animated than it usually is. Considering this is basically an animated paper puppet show, supposedly animated using Powerpoint, that’s pretty damn bad.

I will say the spirit is a little creepy, but nothing too fantastical in design. Like many times over the course of this whole franchise, I’m really left wondering what the backstory is behind this whole thing.

Episode 4: Red High Heel

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Plot: A businessman has gotten out of work late and nearly ends up having to walk home when he’s able to hail a taxi. He finds a bright red high heel in the back and asks the driver if one of his last customers dropped it. The driver quickly tells him to throw it out the window. The man is confused at the driver’s request until he hears footsteps outside of the door.

Breakdown: This one was a little clever but disappointing. The twist surprised me a bit, but the ending was out of nowhere and the narrator’s laugh at the end was out of place and seemed awkward. What about that was funny? Or so scary you’d laugh at the audience for being scared? You literally tossed a dead body at our faces then laughed.

I think it would’ve been more clever if the driver was the bad guy. Say the woman was his last victim come back to haunt him because he’s really a serial killer. Or have her try to warn the businessman about the driver, then have the big end-of-story twist be the driver killing him or turning out to be a demon or something. What we got was a ‘twist’ that was really just a sad random circumstance that I guess the narrator thinks is funny. *shrug*